Black History Month: Recommended TV Shows, Films and Books

In celebration of Black History Month, we've gathered the following list of recommended and critically-acclaimed TV programmes, films and books.

Beds SU

By Beds SU

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

In celebration of Black History Month, we've gathered the following list of recommended and critically-acclaimed TV programmes, films and books.

In our list, we've not only chosen resources that tell of the pain and injustice that black people have faced throughout history. We've also chosen media that shares the everyday life experiences of black people, their achievements and the culture that black people have contributed to society.

TV Programmes

Black-ish

Created by Kenya Barris, this long-running and critically acclaimed American sitcom follows an upper-class African-American family and the personal and socio-political issues they face.

Available to stream on Disney+

#blackAF

Kenya Barris returns in this docu-comedy series, starring as a fictionised version of himself. The show’s mission was to “pull the curtain back and reboot the 'family sitcom' in a way we've never seen before.” Rashida Jones co-stars.

Available to stream on Netflix

Seven Seconds

This Emmy-winning series focuses on the hit-and-run of a Black teenager from Jersey City by a white police officer, as well as the subsequent coverup, its aftermath, and the trial of the century.

Available to stream on Netflix

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

A timeless American sitcom where Will Smith (who basically plays himself) gets sent by his mother to live with his wealthy Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian. The series has many poignant moments and often tackles inequality, but mostly, it’s hilarious.

Available to stream on BBC iPlayer and NOW

Dear White People

Following several black college students at an Ivy League institution, this critically acclaimed series touches on issues surrounding modern American race relations through a progressive lens.

Available to stream on Netflix

Chewing Gum

A brilliant Bafta-winning British sitcom created and written by Michaela Coel, who also plays the lead.

Available to stream on All4, Netflix and BritBox

Films

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

A Grammy award-winning film about Beyoncé and her performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, written, executive produced and directed by Beyoncé herself.

Available to stream on Netflix

13th

Ava DuVernay’s documentary explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.

Available to stream on Netflix

Rocks

A story about friendship, resilience and life in east London, this film follows British-Nigerian teenager Rocks as she tries to take care of her younger brother Emmanuel.

Available to stream on Netflix

I Am Not Your Negro

A 2016 documentary and social critique directed by Raoul Peck, based on James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript ‘Remember This House’.

Available to rent/buy on Apple TV and Google Play

Da 5 Bloods

The film follows a group of four aging Vietnam War veterans who return to the country in search of the remains of their fallen squad leader, as well as the treasure they buried while serving there.

Available to stream on Netflix

Books

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This celebrated debut novel is a story of privilege, family and the stickiness of properly becoming an adult. Events are triggered after 25-year-old Emira is confronted by a security guard and accused of kidnap because she is the Black caretaker of a white child.

How To Love A Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

A stunning debut collection of short stories, Alexia Arthurs unpicks a wide range of elements of Black culture with huge warmth, comedy and nuance.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children

A leading new exploration of the Windrush generation featuring David Lammy, Lenny Henry, Corinne Bailey Rae, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Hannah Lowe, Jamz Supernova, Natasha Gordon and Rikki Beadle-Blair.

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri

In viewing black hair as emblematic of the black experience from slavery through to social media, Dabiri’s deftly written history approaches a wide-ranging and complex topic from a startlingly original angle.

Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi

Translating as 'initiation', kumukanda is the name given to the rites a young boy from the Luvale tribe must pass through before he is considered a man. The poems of Kayo Chingonyi's remarkable debut explore this passage.